Insulating PEX Plumbing Under Tub

I have some bendable pipes (my husband said they are plastic ceramic pipes,?) that go behind my toilet and under our bathtub (one is red and the other is blue). In the winter time, they freeze when the temperatures get down below 0 degrees outside for a few days (and the pipes are inside the trailer).


My question is this, how can I reach those pipes that run under the tub to put heat tape on them? Do I have to call a plumber to do this? Since these are not copper pipes, is it OK to put heat tape on them? (OK, that ended up being a few questions).

There is no access to the tub from under the trailer. There is a bedroom wall on the side of the tub area. I guess I could tear into that wall to get to those pipes, although I don't want to do that.

The part behind the toilet won't be a problem to cover with the heat tape, but since the pipes go under the tub and on the other side of it, it is impossible to do. I can pull out our washer and see the other side of the pipes (where they connect to the faucet on the tub), but cannot reach those pipes running under the tub even though I can see a good bit of them. Any ideas for me?

Also, I do have a electric heater that runs in there during the winter time and is almost never turned off. It's one of those oil electric heaters that look like a radiator. The bathroom will show it as 70 or 80 degrees, but the thermometer I have in there is around 5 feet from the floor (and I know the air on the floor will be somewhat cooler than it is 5 feet off of the floor).

Thanks for your help.

By Misty from Ohio

April 23, 20100 found this helpful

How cold does it get in Ohio in the winter? Here is Saskatchewan, if one lives in a house trailer, the common practice is to skirt the trailer with plywood or something like that, and then insulate inside the skirting. People use straw bales &/or snow banked on the outside to keep out drafts and to provide insulation that way too. They use stuff like fiberglass pink on the inside of the skirting under the trailer.

Heat tape is necessary on the pipes under the trailer anyway, and sometimes people also put a heat lamp, but we never put anything but the heat tape on exposed pipes. I think if you skirt in your trailer, and insulate, you will not need to do anything with the pipes inside the trailer.

The winter temps here can be -40 or lower.

Now, I don't know if you can put heat tape on those flexible pipes. But I do know that if you could get some warm air circulation under that tub, you would not likely have a problem. Perhaps you should consider installing some sort grill or maybe a door in the bedroom side that you could open in the cold weather to let warm air in.

I also wonder what kind of insulation there is in the floor of your trailer. Perhaps there needs to be insulation beneath this area. That would be a whole lot bigger job.

I am thinking that this area is freezing simply because there is no way for room temp air to get to it. I have a closet in the kitchen that stays fairly cold because the door to it is closed all the time, and things jammed against the outside wall can get quite chilly.

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April 25, 20100 found this helpful

Thank you! Lots of great information in your post! We do have skirting on our trailer, but it's not insulated or anything. I will get it insulated this summer so it won't be so cold in the winter. You have lots of great information about using straw bales and/or snow for insulation.

And come to think of it, the pipes outside do have heat tape on them and they don't freeze, but only the pipes under the tub do. I also like the idea of a door in the spare bedroom. When I read that, I thought it would be a good idea to get a long "heater" grate and install it along that wall so it doesn't get so cold under there. I can put a small ceramic heater in that room and face it under the tub. Again, great ideas! Thanks so much!

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